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Æon's FUEL FAQ


v1.8241 Q&As — 9/11/2010
for the PC version of FUEL.
Edited by Æon (C) 2010


Introduction

FUEL Driver Gear
This FAQ is intended for the fans who have enjoyed, played and finished the FUEL game, at least once, and are wondering about what they may have missed. In short, the FAQ is written for those that want to get more out of the game!
Note: I am assuming you know how the game works more or less, i.e. you learned the basics from playing the game.
The FAQ makes use of the FUEL Wiki, highlighting things of note, plus adding many gameplay tips. Should you miss specific details, feel free to check with the wiki, it is quite content complete.



Overview

Here you will find a compact summary of how the FUEL racing/exploration game works:
  • FUEL differs from other racing games like DiRT or GRID or the Need for Speed series in several points. Most importantly due to the huge (ca. 130x130 km²) continuous gaming world, that is basically one big quite realistic race track.
  • The world is partitioned into Zones, but you can drive into 'locked' Zones at any time if you wish, though some restrictions apply. Anything you see on the horizon can thus be accessed in FUEL, simply drive there.
  • The focus in FUEL is on arcade driving, and more importantly on exploration, than on an all too realistic simulation. For the player this means the 75 unlockable and purchasable vehicles are quite benign and forgiving to driving mistakes. You will still need to drive precisely if you want to win though.
  • You start off in one of 19 Zones in the game. There you have to win (second or third is not good enough) several so-called Career races, that award Stars. Earning enough Stars unlocks further Zones in the game.
  • Each Career race has three difficulty levels; Rookie, Expert and Legend. Per level you gain one star, so directly winning on legendary difficulty will earn you the maximum of three stars. Legendary does not seem to be what it used to be though. After a bit of practice, you will be able to win about 50% of all Career races in your first run, most others after 2 to 3 tries. Only about 10 races are really difficult and take a lot of nerve and skill to complete.
  • The Zones feature slightly different climatic regions, from your continental forests, to devastated and burned down regions, to deserts, to snowy mountain peaks, and large bodies of water.
  • Next of the Career races you will need to complete to progress, there are many optional Challenges (5 to 10 per Zone), that let you earn 'FUEL', the game's currency. You need 'FUEL' to buy new vehicles.
  • Winning races yields several interesting rewards. You can win new vehicles, locate so-called Mavericks and also Doppler Trucks. The latter, when bumped into, will show all the Vista Points, Liveries, and further Challenges on your Map. You also win all sorts of gear your avatar driver can wear in the game (headgear, shirts/jacks, and pants).
FUEL Thundertruck
  • Aside from the actual races in Career and Challenge mode, a huge, if not the most important part of the game is the Free Ride mode. At any time you may explore the world. To give this mode some meaning it leads you on a epic 'Easter Egg' hunt in the world of FUEL. Sightseeing points of interest in the game are the so-called Vista Points, often difficult to access places on mountain ridges. If you want to give your vehicles a new paint job, try collecting the Liveries in each Zone. If you are desperate for cash ('FUEL'), collide with the many Fuel Barrels spread out in the landscape. They yield 100 to 400 'FUEL', and at the start of the game you will need all the 'FUEL' you can collect to buy all those nice new vehicles.
  • The game also sports extensive statistics, like the longest jump, or numbers on what you unlocked, or total distances covered. Also see Achievements.
  • Alas, the game does not really have an ending, even if you unlock all Zones, and win everything. On the good side, though, this lets you continue exploring the large world of FUEL, with everything you unlocked.

Damage & Gears

  • Even though the driving physics are benign, i.e. slightly arcadey, they are realistic enough. This also includes a 'simple' damage model. Your vehicles will take different levels of punishment (Reliability) before they are destroyed.
  • The damage to the vehicle models is quite restricted though, unhinged doors, and bit of bent metal is all you will see. Nothing like a totally deformed wreck will occur. Well they also will get covered in mud, when racing off-road.
  • The effect damage has on the driving performance is also minimal. You may hear a engine stutter, but your top speed will not change, and the steering does not seem to be affected either.
  • Once your vehicle is destroyed a brand new one respawns, near the spot you wrecked the old one. You have an limitless, free, supply of replacements. Destroying your ride during a race will obviously cost valuable time, though!
  • All vehicles in FUEL use an automatic gear box, so you never need to switch them manually. They also have unlimited fuel. And they cannot be upgraded either.

Trade & Rides

  • There is not actually much you can buy for 'FUEL'. Basically only new vehicles made available in your Garage — after winning certain races — can be bought.
  • In Free Ride mode you can change to any vehicle you own in an instant. You need not visit a specific place in the game. Useful when switching from roads to off-road tracks.

Items, Inventory, Respawn

  • Everything you collect is accessible from the in-game menu Garage interface. This includes all the vehicles and their liveries, but also the gear you won that your driver can wear.
  • Keep in mind that the Fuel Barrels in the game respawn endlessly, so you should never run out of cash. Also, you may not want to waste your time trying to access the more difficultly placed barrels, there are enough elsewhere.

Levelling Up

  • There is no levelling up via XP by e.g. winning races. You earn Stars by winning Career races, and these unlock new Zones with more races, plus let you win vehicles and other goodies.

Time, Playtime, Weather

  • The world of FUEL features a quite stunning day-night cycle. Your vehicles in Free Ride mode will e.g. turn on their lights automatically when it gets too dark to see.
  • The in-game day lasts 10 minutes and the night around 6 minutes, so that a full day only takes 16 minutes. The day-night cycle is thus accelerated by a factor of 90.
  • Comment: To 'complete' the whole game, win all Career races on Legend difficulty, win all Challenges, collect all Mavericks, Liveries, and Vista Points, took me 77 hours. This includes several hours exploration for 'fun', just to give you an idea. (AEon)
  • FUEL also features a weather system: Sunny days, rain, even storms, i.e. sand storms that reduce visibility to almost zero, but also tornadoes that fling debris into the air to slam it into the road in front of your ride. The latter two only occur in a select few races though.

The AI

  • The AI can be beaten relatively easily, even on Legend difficulty, but it has its quirks.
FUEL The Educator
  • You start each race at the end of the race grid. Though it can be fun to pass all those AI vehicles, it can also be a huge source of frustration, in those difficult races. The quicker you are able to pass all the AI, the better your chances are of winning. Getting stuck in the pack, on the other hand, often makes it impossible to catch up to the first two or three AI drivers.
  • Trying to overtake AI, can have some unexpected side effects. Quite often the AI will veer off the centre of the track, slamming into your ride, violently displacing you from the road. I my opinion this seems to be a bug, because the impulse your ride gets is far greater than the AI should be able to pass along. (AEon)
  • Other AI quirks are, Circuit Races. At the start the first two or three AI vehicles seem to make it easy to catch up to them, then they race at their normal speed, towards the end they then sometimes slow down letting you catch up on the last few hundred meters. Thus it is very important to quickly pass most of the AI right at the start of the race!
  • Something less driver friendly, is the sudden acceleration of the AI on the last few hundred meters, just before the finish line, at times actually 'stealing' your race win. Rare though this is, it is frustrating, and again I have the suspicion that the AI is cheating. (AEon)

Saving

  • FUEL automatically saves changes in the game world. E.g. every race you won, livery collected, gear received or Zone unlocked.
  • The save state is saved in one file. There have been reports of it getting corrupted, thus destroying any progress you made in the game. See the Create your own Save States? Q&A on how to create your own backups.
  • Comment: During my 77 hour game, FUEL crashed a total of five times, in various situations, though luckily it never corrupted the save state. (AEon)

General Gameplay & Tips

FUEL gameplay Goals?

There are quite a few things you can/will want to achieve when playing the game:
  • Since there is not really any story to all the racing, you simply go in an try to collect and win everything.
  • Discover and win all Career races on Legend difficulty.
  • Activate all the Doppler Trucks, to help find all Challenges, Liveries and Vista Points.
  • Discover and win all Challenges.
  • Collect all Liveries, and also all Vista Points.
  • Discover and collect all Bonus Cars / Mavericks.
  • Win all the driver gear you can.
  • Additionally explore the huge world of FUEL, if you like.
  • On the console you will also want to beat all Achievements.
  • Have fun!


In-game Tips?

FUEL provides quite a few helpful in-game tips. It is recommended that you read up on those.
To gain that extra edge, see Tips.


Interacting with Objects?

There is not really that much the driver in FUEL can directly interact with.
The interaction is restricted to bumping into other objects like the Fuel Barrels, Doppler Trucks, and Mavericks, to 'collect' them. This excludes ramming into AI vehicles during races.


How to Drive faster?

Depending on the Acceleration value of your vehicle, it should reach its maximum Speed relatively quickly, and then stop accelerating.
If you keep going at maximum speed the exhaust flame will turn blue, indicating an extra boost, upping the top speed by an additional few km/h. This is very important to help increase the distance between your ride and the AI drivers or when trying to catch up on straight roads.


Catching Doppler Trucks?

Winning Career races will uncover the whereabouts of the so-called Doppler Trucks that reveal the location of Liveries, Vista Points, and rest of the Challenges in that Zone. Tracking them down can turn out to be tedious, here some tips:
FUEL Valkyrie
  • Alas, it is not possible use the Map marker (E-key) to follow moving vehicles, but the marker can help you define the line-of-sight (direction) to the trucks, to be seen when the GPS has been turned on.
  • Alternately, turn on GPS, estimate the direction of the target on the map, then navigate in that direction (usually on one of the off-road Bikes, I recommend Valkyrie). After a few minutes open the Map again and correct your heading.
  • Since the trucks move, try to anticipate the direction the vehicles are moving towards, and cut them off.
Track down the Mavericks (Bonus Cars) in the same way.
Tip: Each Zone features three Doppler Trucks.


Collect 'FUEL' more Quickly?

The only 'loot' you will be collecting a lot of are the Fuel Barrels. Since these only become visible at a certain distance from the driver, even if you have set the graphics settings to maximum, there are a few tricks that help.
HPIM0556

A stack of four Fuel Barrels.

Learn to recognize the white barrels with the red writing on them, and especially the pyramid of four barrels (worth 400 'FUEL'). Luckily the white 'artificial' objects stand out quite well in all the terrain and nature. After some time you will have developed the peripheral vision to notice those barrels quickly.
  • Once you discover those barrels, hit the handbreak to quickly slide to a stop to then pick them up.
  • If the barrels are more in your line of sight, try to bump into them at full speed by slightly, very subtly correcting your course. This lets you very quickly and effectively collect much 'FUEL'.
  • Also note that contrary to what one might think, the barrels are even more visible at night in the light of your vehicle's head lights.
  • There are about half a dozen types of buildings with ramps where you will always find Fuel Barrels. Though, as mentioned, nearby barrels will usually be more accessible.
  • The most abundant collection of Fuel Barrels can be found in the Redrock Bluffs.
  • It is possible to collide e.g. with a tree to push over Fuel Barrels, or hit a fence with the barrels behind it. This does *not* count as collecting a barrel, only direct contact counts, so be sure to always check the mid-left HUD for a 'FUEL' message. Only then did you actually collect the 'FUEL'.


Racing Tips?

Playing the game for many hours will let you understand the driver AI quite well, and there are indeed several tricks that will help you win races more easily:
  • In the first half of the game you will almost exclusively be racing at full speed, at the most you might need to let go of the 'gas pedal' briefly. You do not really need brakes, yet.
  • Try to adopt a minimalistic driving style. Only change direction when you really need to and keep the steering at a minimum. Wild angle changes of your front wheel(s) will only destabilise the vehicle and make it much more difficult to keep under control. Especially on narrow mountain paths this can make the difference between winning and falling off the cliff.
FUEL King Arthur
  • When you notice the vehicle is starting to skid in a curve, when racing at full speed, try getting off the gas briefly to stabilise it again.
  • You will encounter vehicle road blocks, e.g. a truck blocking the path with many barrels on the road, or wooden 'barricade warning signs'. Instead of hitting the brakes or even worse hitting those stationary vehicles, always go for the 'gap', and do not be afraid to race right through the barrels or barricade.
  • Always keep an eye on the distance meter in the top-right of the HUD. Though sometimes incorrect, it gives you a valuable indication on how close the AI drivers are behind you, or how much you need to catch up.
  • When catching up, with a slight speed excess, avoid bumping into the AI drivers in front of you, or you will loose that extra speed again, making the overtaking all the more tedious.
  • When overtaking the first two or three vehicles, in particular the very first AI driver, when passing, cut into his path. The AI will hit the brakes, and you easily gain a lead of about 30-40 metres.
  • Keep an eye on the mini-map in the bottom-left of the HUD. When descending a mountain on a serpentine road, be brave and take the straight way down the hill, significantly reducing the time you would otherwise need to navigate this part of the route. Your rides will usually take this abuse.
  • Experiment on cutting corners, the AI will always take the centre road, thus the longer path. Even seemingly straight highway roads will have slight left/right bends, leave the asphalt just enough to cut across the dirt a bit (careful, avoid loosing top speed), this will let you distance the AI by a few metres each time. Also helps when trying to catch up.
  • There are a few races where even good driving will not let you get past the AI drivers, but for some reason they then suddenly commit critical driving errors that let you pass them on the last few hundred metres (3-4 cases) near the finish line. So do not give up prematurely, keep on racing to the very end. On difficult Circuit Races this 'AI gift' can happen, thankfully.
  • The street bikes, optimised for asphalt, are *really* bad off-road, so stay on the road at all costs.
  • Never feel safe, even with a large lead on the AI. Quite often the game tracks will feature some really 'mean' obstacles or tricky navigation parts, throwing you back. So the more lead you have, the better, and remember you have only won the race or challenge when you cross the finish line first. Especially the last few curves of some races may be almost 'unfairly' tricky.
  • Just because a vehicle is faster (Speed in stats) does not mean it will make you reach the finish line more quickly. Fast vehicles usually have less grip and are a lot more difficult to control, especially when trying take sharp turns. A slower vehicle with more grip will often be the better choice.


Difficulty Winning Races?

Whereas most races can be won — even on Legend difficulty — easily enough, there are a few that will have you biting your nails (not to mention screaming with frustration). Here some tips on how to overcome them:
  • Your driving style should be calm, calculated, yet mercilessly aggressive, especially at the start of the race, when trying to overtake the AI drivers.
  • If you have trouble with a Career race, first check what the predominant surface is and then choose the vehicle best suited.
  • When you have the choice, and there is some "off-road" involved, it is almost always best to choose a fully off-road vehicle, letting you take shortcuts in the terrain. This maximises your grip on dirt, and will not slow you down too much on the short asphalt sections.
  • If that fails, try out the other available vehicles.
FUEL Slipstream
  • Quite often you can actually buy a much better vehicle (for 30'000 'FUEL' and more). Pay up and win!
  • Still not winning? Then you might like to skip the race for now, and try later on in the game, when more powerful vehicles become available.
  • Keep an eye on your frame rate (e.g. using Fraps), if it drops too much, e.g. under 40 FPS, the game engine may develop issues properly calculating the vehicle physics, and you tend to snag on geometry or over-steer a lot. To fix this, reduce your graphics settings, e.g. the AA setting (Anti Aliasing, via configuration window on game startup) for such 'laggy' races.
  • Especially those Blitz Challenges can be very difficult to win, since you have no choice in your vehicle, and your time is extremely restricted. The trick is to familiarise yourself really well with the track layout. You will often *have* to take shortcuts to even have the slightest chance of winning. So look out for those. In case you are wondering, that can mean 10 or more tries until you finally win the race.
  • Driving off cliffs to take an 'aggressive' shortcut is very often the right thing to do, to gain a significant lead on the AI drivers. This does take some skill though. Pay very close attention to the mini-map, to notice these shortcuts.
  • Especially in Endurance Challenges, the cross-country line-of-sight approach will pay off, provided your vehicle is suited for off-road paths.
  • On *really* steep cliffs, you can try to turn your bike sideways, sliding down the mountain on one side of the bike, with both wheels scraping on the rock. This seems to be a bug in the game, because otherwise you would never be able to descend without a crash (respawn).


Chopper Chase Troubles?

The first few Chopper Chase Challenges will be quite easy to win, simply hit the throttle, and follow the helicopter in a straight line at full speed. The helicopter tries to keep a constant distance, up to the last few hundred metres before the finish line. At this point in time you will need to be close enough to overtake it.
Later in the game the straight-line approach still works, but you will need to be more clever and take advantage of roads that follow the chopper's path more or less closely. Why? Because it lets you drive at a much higher speed than the line-of-sight off-road track would. This does require some experimenting, so do not be discouraged.


Seek 'n' Destroy Tips?

The Seek 'n' Destroy Challenges are normally easy to win, you just follow the vehicles at full speed, elegantly bump into them (without loosing too much speed), and continue to do so until you have caught every one of them.
FUEL Chaos Wrecker
There are two such Challenges that are quite tricky though. In each one you have two vehicles in front and two in the back. Catching up with the slower ones is simple enough, but how should one ever catch up to those excessively fast ones in front?
  • In one race you need to learn the path the vehicles will take. You can 'bump off' the first two, and then take a shortcut off-road to catch up with the two in front, since via road you are too slow.
  • In the other race, do not waste your time trying to catch the slow vehicles, take the off-road shortcut cutting off the two fast vehicles in front first, to then 'wait' the the slower ones.
Tip: Should you have made a few driving errors at the beginning of the Challenge, loosing speed, having trouble catching up with the fleeing vehicles... It is better to restart the race, since you will not be able to catch up to the vehicles at the very front. Clean, flawless speed-orientated driving is the key here.


Blitz Challenges and Jumps?

Blitz Challenges are among the more difficult challenges the player will face in FUEL. Not only do you have to navigate Checkpoint gates, but you have almost no margin for error, time-wise.
To beat these challenges you will need to know your route exactly, and take advantage of every shortcut possible, this is not optional like in Endurance races, but a necessity.
You should also be aware that long jumps, with more up than forward momentum, will slow down your vehicle (usually a bike). So try to keep your jumps low and flat, or try to avoid them altogether. As a reminder: In the air you slow down, and cannot accelerate, reducing your average speed. This is counter-productive in Blitz challenges.


Checkpoint Gates?

During races (Career and Challenges) it is mandatory to pass a certain number of Checkpoint gates. Missing them will make it difficult (time-wise), if not impossible (if you keep on racing) to win that race.
Thus, when racing, pay very close attention to where the next gate is located. Your GPS will be an invaluable help here. So be sure to turn it on via Enter-key.
Should you miss a gate — can happen if you are rammed off track by one of the AI drivers, or if you took a curve at too high a speed — then depending on the race type you may have forfeited the race. Since it simply takes too long to backtrack and pass the gate. This is especially true for the Checkpoint Run and Blitz Challenges, where time is of the essence.
In Endurance Challenges, where you normally will have a several kilometres lead on the AI, missing a gate will be less of an issue. Here it is normally best to respawn your vehicle, placing it in front of the current checkpoint gate.
In general do everything to *not* miss the Checkpoints, even, "mercy me", if it means hitting the brakes hard.


Reaching Vista Points?

Visiting Vista Point

Visiting a Vista Point.

At the beginning of the game it is trivial to reach the Vista Points, since they are placed on flat land, accessible from any direction. Later this can become quite tricky, since the Vista Points are usually placed at the end of mountain ridges, and to make things worse there is only *one* path to get to them. To prevail, you will require clever navigation and the right vehicles, here some tips:
Navigation Tips:
  • Turn on the GPS to exactly locate the Vista Points.
  • In Free Ride mode view, take a very close look at the bottom of the Vista Point GPS marker. Often you can spot the exact point in the mountain face where the Vista Point is located.
  • Zoom into the Map to find out on what side of a canyon, or at the end of what mountain ridge the Vista Point is placed. Then try to figure out how to get there.
  • The semi-difficult-to-reach Vista Points usually have a side-road leading directly to the look-out point. Do not stress yourself, simply follow the next highway to them, then take the side-road. It is a waste of time trying to climb too steep mountains, if you can take just as well the road.
  • In general, always assume the worst case, i.e. the most difficult to access Vista Point placement.
  • Try to gain the height advantage and then stay 'above' your target. It is *always* easier to slide down a mountain face into the Vista Point than trying to climb the mountain. Often the climbing part is actually impossible anyway.
  • After a while you should be able to get a feeling for how ridges are connected and how to get from one to the other.
  • The Map and the HUD's mini-map show 'stream beds', some of them come down from the mountains. If dried out, these can be scaled much more easily than your normal assortment of rock and dirt on the mountain flanks.
FUEL Lucha Libre
Tips:
  • Should you slide off a mountain ridge, fear not, simply reset (respawn) your ride, it will usually be placed on top of the ridge again.
  • Some Vista Points, e.g. the Cauldron View Point in the middle of the crater filled with water, are one-way only. You will be able to slide into the crater, but not be able to drive out of it, or only with a huge amount of time and skill. Make it easy on yourself, open the Map and simply jump to the next Heliport to get out of these dead-end situations.
FUEL Dustgrinder
Climber Vehicles:
  • Early in the game use the "Big Foot"-like Lucha Libre truck. It may be slow, but those huge tires develop a lot of grip, letting you scale many very steep mountain faces.
  • The bike equivalent of a 'mountain goat' is the Dustgrinder and later the even better Valkyrie. Bikes develop a lot of wheel spin on mountain 'ramps', but once they get up to speed 60-70 km/h and above, their momentum will let you ride up even really steep mountain faces. The most difficult to attain Vista Points (there are about three in the game) can only be scaled using these bikes, trying to ride up the mountain face at a high speed.


Revisit areas for more Fuel Barrels?

The Fuel Barrels in FUEL respawn endlessly. So if you are desperate for 'cash', revisit areas you know to be littered with many such barrels.
Tip: Several Heliports sport around 14 barrels in close proximity of the helipad, e.g. Redrock Bluffs central heliport east of the canyon. So skipping between them via Map should quickly improve your 'FUEL' balance.
Make good use of your Free Ride sessions, trying to collect Liveries or Vista Points, to collect Fuel Barrels. Nothing is more disconcerting than wanting to play a race, but not having enough cash to buy the appropriate ride.
Comment: At the beginning of the game you will be lacking sufficient funding, so it is a good idea to only buy those vehicles you really need to compete in the Career races or Challenges, saving 'FUEL' for the more expensive vehicles later in the game. After completing about 3/4 of the Zones, you will no longer have cash problems. At the end of the game I actually has 1.12 million 'FUEL', and nothing to spend it on.


The Vehicles in FUEL?

The Vehicles in the game are special a several ways:
  • First off their damage model only marginally influences the driving performance. E.g. they still always reach their 'undamaged' top speed.
  • They do not have a gear box, thus work with an automatic transmission.
  • How they behave on and off the road is determined by a set of parameters:
    • Speed — the top speed these vehicles can attain.
    • Acceleration — how quickly they will reach the top speed.
    • Grip — the level of grip they achieve. This depends on the values for Asphalt and Off-road. High Asphalt values will usually mean really low grip off-road.
    • Brake — how quickly the vehicle will come to a stop. Massive vehicles will have longer braking distances due to inertia.
    • Reliability — determines the amount of damage a vehicle can take before it is destroyed. Relevant e.g. when jumping off cliffs.
    • Asphalt — high values designate the ride as a street / road vehicle.
    • Off-road — high values mean this vehicle is quite at home off-road.
  • The vehicles can not be upgraded, e.g. with a turbo, or lighter doors and hood. They have fixed stats, though you can change the paint job via Liveries at any time for free.


Places & 'Quests'

What Zones are there?

The continuous world of FUEL is 'cut up' into regions approximately 30x30 km² large, the so-called Zones. There are a total of 19 such Zones:
These Zones are unlocked by winning Career races, earning enough Stars.


Is there an Map Overview?

Yes there is. Painstakingly, a huge map image was created. For the complete FUEL world, see Map.


Challenges etc. easily missed?

In your in-game Map each Zone shows an overview page that lists all the pertinent stats for this region of the game. Among other things the number of Stars you can earn, the number of Challenges, Liveries, Vista Points and Bonus Cars.
Simply zoom out of the Zone you are in, to look up these stats. They will help you *not* miss anything in that area of the world. Note there are no secrets to be found in the game world, alas.


Quick navigation in the World?

To pick up Liveries or Vista Points more quickly, you can either drive there in Free Ride mode, this can take quite a long time, but you may enjoy the scenery. Or you open the in-game Map and instantly jump to the next Heliport, this also works for the unlocked Zone Bases.
Tip: Interestingly after you have 'unlocked' a Vista Point it also becomes available as an instant destination via in-game Map. Apparently this also works for collected Livery locations.
Note: The freshly unlocked Challenges (via Doppler Trucks), can be accessed from the game menu directly, so you do not need to visit those locations in Free Ride mode.


What different Endings are there?

Even though the game does have an introductory movie, and each Zone also features its own intro movie, the game has no 'proper' ending. No movie, nothing. The game is basically open-ended.


Gameplay Alternatives?

For other games, gameplay alternatives may well improve the replay value. Alas for FUEL there are not many things you might be able to do differently the second time you play the game. Note this is quite typical for *all* racing games, so this is not a critique.
Alternatives:
  • Once Zones has been unlocked, you can play those in any order you like.
  • It is pretty much up to you what vehicle you use to play the various races. Using a weaker vehicle may add an additional level of challenge to the game.
  • There is no fixed order on how to collect Liveries and Vista Points, so you can experiment in Free Ride mode as well.
  • Pity there is no way to play the game 'dark side'. (AEon)


Curiosities & Speculations

Favourite in-game Quotations?

Your driver avatar and everyone else in the game stays silent throughout the whole game. There are a few cynical Zone-related quotations by the developers though:
Quotations:
  • Blacktrail PassThis pass was the only entrance to a tentacular network of coal mines. Ahhh coal...! The black ancestor of our good old fuel and instigator of mass pollution. All hail to the ancients!
  • Drownington CoveRepeated torrential rains have flooded the city and an earthquake smashed the bridge down. Now that should solve the traffic jam issues!
Redrock Bluffs
  • Dry RigsDry oil wells just feel like a monumental irony to speed freaks like us. Let's burn our last drops of fuel right under their dead noses!
  • Dustbowl City — 'Panem et circenses'! The stadium is the region's hot spot for sporting events! Well, at least it used to be before sandstorms began sweeping the city on a daily basis. More dust with your hot-dog buddy?
  • Pinwheels RidgeThose pinwheels were quite a good idea: free, clean, unlimited energy... Problem is, they kicked in a little late...
  • Rainier Peak... If human foolishness didn't make it there, its effects can be felt in every snowstorm. Hey, the good news is your engine won't overheat before YOU freeze to death!
  • Redrock BluffsSurprisingly, the canyons do not seem to be much affected by surrounding ecological disasters. I guess that dry red rocks with no vegetation whatsoever are hard to move an inch, eh?
  • The HangarThe huge Zeppelin hangar is reminiscent of the earliest slow-as-hell long-distance luxury flights. The winged polluters finally got the upper hand and the hangar is now ours to shelter our good old down-to-earth vehicles between events!
  • Tsunami ReefA sudden gigantic tsunami has wrecked a tanker, leaving the remnants of a ship in the desert. Sand ahoy, mateys! Drop anchor and board the old wreck!


Speculations and Musings?

Here a few game related speculations:
  • Where do all the Trucks come from?
Strange that the oh so abandoned area of FUEL is so infested with trucks, that seem to do nothing useful (pull no trailers), other than play traffic hazards in Free Ride mode.
  • What is up with those Stealth Fighter planes?
I wonder what the supersonic jets keep doing, flying over the player's rides, about once a day? In a world so messed up, you would tend to think these planes could be used for something more constructive.
  • Fighter planes keep same height above terrain?
Watching the jets follow the terrain at a constant height, does look strange at times if the landscape is hilly. Almost as if the jets never heard of inertia or gravity, or aerial safety regulations.
  • What is up with all the respawning Oil Barrels?
In a world apparently so starved for fossil fuel, it is ironic that the Fuel Barrels so massively litter the world. Would the folks in all those "ghost trucks" not have ripped off and taken all those barrels by now?
  • Where are all the humans?
Catastrophes may have driven out the humans from the world of FUEL, but with so much good land still available, why actually leave? Forests aplenty, abundant water, and many green fields, plus an excessive amount of roads. So vegetation will grow and the roads provide really good infrastructure.
  • What is up with the full Moon?
Apparently your average gamer will not recognize the Moon, unless it is a full moon. Thus the game always shows a full Moon at night, quite surreal. Or maybe the game needed a plausible light source at night, to avoid complete and utter darkness.
  • Sun turns into Moon?
When in the mountains, you seem to be able to look 'over' the horizon. Riding the straight east to west main highway, I witnessed how the setting Sun suddenly turned into the Moon, at the exact same place in the sky. This must be magic, astronomy it sure ain't.
OK, that was a tad sarcastic, but the motivation for the gameplay setting does leave something to be desired. Then again who cares about a story in a racing game anyway? And in case you are wondering, I did love the game, anyway.


Misc

Bugs & Workarounds?

Presently (9/9/2010) with the PC version of the FUEL racing / exploration game (on Steam), fully patched, the number of bugs are quite few. But heed to the following tips anyway to avoid possible frustration:
FUEL The Viper
Tips:
  • Create your own save state backups, just to be sure, or to let you replay a certain part of the game. See the Create your own Save States? Q&A.
Bugs:
  • The game crashes from time to time (for me five times in 77 hours). But there seems to be no system behind those crashes, maybe it is some cache overflow issue, after playing too many hours in one run. The game always would restart without any problems and load the last game state, though.
  • There are a few curious object placements in the game: A concrete structure right in the middle of a highway, or the water edge of a lake near the edge of the map that is suddenly cut off. A few Fuel Barrels here and there that are stuck in trees. But all this is *really* rare for such a huge world.
  • I had the distinct feeling the AI vehicles did some cheating during the game:
    • They seem to be able to ram you off the track easily, you on the other hand have a very difficult time pushing them out of the way.
    • AI rides that miss the track, sliding down the hill, will make a spectacular comeback onto the track. If this happens to the player, there is *no* way to duplicate that kind of 'comeback'.
    • Near the end of a race, the AI suddenly massively increases speed and overtakes your vehicle already at full speed. I am aware of one race where my own vehicle was fast for most of the race, but then was slowed down in high grass, and thus overtaken. That at least made sense, I needed to choose another ride. But in the 3-4 other cases I have no idea what was going on.
  • Trying to bind the E-key in the Options, Controls, Layout menu will crash the game. Apparently this key is required to place markers on the in-game Map.
  • Small vehicles like bikes will at times pass through the Liveries of (abandoned) Trucks, some issue with the collision model. Switching to a larger vehicle helps.


Wishlist?

I am aware this is way too late 'in the game' to ever become a reality, but here my personal wishlist for things that would make the game better:
  • I bound the in-game Map to the Tab-key, alas tapping it a second time does *not* turn off the map again, you need to hit the Esc-key. This is very inconvenient.
  • It would *really* be nice to have a key that turns off the HUD completely, to allow for clean HUD-free screenshots.
  • Fix the volume of the Bink movies, they ignore the volume settings the rest of the game uses, and play at what appears to be full volume.
  • Do not skip the intro movies by just hitting *any* key, restrict it to Space and Enter. Presently taking a screenshot of the movies will end them.
  • Let us unpack the PDC archives the game uses... would have helped the wiki.
  • I can understand that adding some sort of rear-view mirror could really kill the frame rate, but a separate key to quickly look behind you would have helped in quite a few races. Especially when the AI is about to overtake, and you are desperately trying to keep it behind you. Strange, since this is standard in most racing games.


Create your own Save States?

The saving mechanism in the FUEL is based on automatic saves, at certain points in the game. The player can not save the game just at any point he or she likes. On the plus side, you never need to bother about saving the game state, and the save game file size requirements are very low. On the down side, you can not simply save where and when you want. E.g. races always have to be completed, there is no way to save the game in the middle of the race, as much as we may have liked that to be possible for a few of the more tedious races.
Since the autosaves only 'remember' the last game state — overwriting any older states — you will not be able to replay earlier parts of the game, readily. But with the following trick you can:
Under Windows 7 (Steam install), the autosave files are located in:
C:\Users\<WinUser>\Documents\My Games\FUEL\
To create your own save states, e.g. letting you replay certain parts of the game, simply make a backup of the complete profile folder, either packing it into an archive (e.g. zip file) or just duplicate the folder under another name.
To skip to an older save state, simply copy the old folder over the new one. Or better rename the current folder, and copy the old one into the appropriate directory. E.g. rename Documents\My Games\FUEL\ to Documents\My Games\FUEL_current\, then copy the old FUEL\ folder into Documents\My Games\.
Warning: Always create a backup, before you meddle with files!
Tip: I would very much suggest you backup the save state after *every* Zone you have completed. Maybe add the number of kilometres driven to the backup file name, to help remember when in the game you created it. Note that the game may crash... if you loose the progress in the current Zone (4-7 hours of gameplay maximum), then that would be bad, but not nearly as bad as loosing 40-50 hours of gameplay up to that moment in the game.


Cheats? In-game Console?

Alas there is no in-game console, so on-the-fly "cheating" or a change of advanced settings is not possible.
There are a few Bonus Codes, letting you access a bit of free 'loot', though.


Clean HUD-free Screenshots?

There is no way to completely turn off the HUD (Heads Up Display) to take clean screenshots in the game.
You can turn off the GPS and the Speed Gauge in the Options menu, under Display, but the mini-map will always be with you, alas.
See also the Remove the Motion Blur? Q&A on this subject.
Note: Changing this shader will force the game to recalculate quite a few shaders, so be patient, this is normal.


Remove the Motion Blur?

If you like to take screenshots in the game, you will quickly notice all the blur effects. Though they do add a certain level of 'action' to the game, they are all the more annoying when trying to take clean screenshots. Luckily this can be fixed by changing the appropriate shader file.
See the Disable Motion Blur page for details. Personally I can only recommend this fix. And it actually makes it easier to spot Fuel Barrels, possibly even increasing the frame rate a bit.


How to play in-game .bik Movies?

Since all in-game movies are in the Bink format, look for the free Bink player at RadGameTools. Download and install the RADVideo package.
Tip: The in-game movies can be found in the Steam\steamapps\common\fuel\VIDEOS\720P\ folder (Steam install), letting you watch the intro and Zone specific movies again, if you like.


How to take Screenshots?

For optimum quality, .bmp bitmap images are the way to go. Though this comes with a file size price of about 5 MB per image for screens running at a 1680x1050 pixel resolution.
To take screenshots plus get a framerate counter as a bonus use the Fraps screen-grabber tool (Google for it, free version available). It takes screenshots instantly (no noticeable lag) in .bmp format. Note the tool lets you bind any key to grab screens. I use the <-key to the right of the left Shift-key on a German keyboard, very convenient.


Downloadable Content?

Even though the game does scream to be continued, i.e. receive a proper ending, plus could be expanded by many more vehicles and race paths, there has not been any DLC at this point in time (9/9/2010).


Playing FUEL via Keyboard?

I played FUEL on the keyboard, even though I do own a racing wheel. I just could not be bothered to install it. It took me a while to find a good key setup though, so here it is for those interested.
In-game open the Options menu, select Controls and then Layout to change the key bindings. Remember you will be playing the game for 50+ hours, so a good setup is important.
AEon's FUEL Key Bindings:
  • Steer left: Left Arrow
  • Steer right: Right Arrow
  • Lean forward: Up Arrow
  • Lean back: Down Arrow
  • Rotate camera left: A
  • Rotate camera right: F
  • Rotate camera up: Q
  • Rotate camera down: Z (Y on a German keyboard)
  • Change view: C
  • Menu: Escape (default)
  • Map: Tab
  • Accelerate: W
  • Brake/Reverse: D
  • Handbrake: Space
  • Hide/Show 3D GPS: Return (default)
  • Respawn: R
Note: If you come from shooters, you will have been using the W, A, S, D keys for years. The trick is not to use S as the brake key but the readily available D-key, letting you accelerate and brake at the same time. Something you need to do in a few asphalt races, to slow down, but keep the vehicle stable.
Warning: Trying to bind the E-key will crash the game. Apparently this key is required to place markers on the in-game Map.


More and 'better' Music?

After playing 20-30 hours, decreasing the volume of FUEL's in-game music (Options menu, Audio, Music Volume) will probably not be enough. The music will start to get repetitive. Luckily the music is completely optional, i.e. there are no cues for attacking enemies. So why not turn it off completely? To then return to the Windows desktop via Alt+Tab, launch a music player of your choice (e.g. Winamp), and run your favourite mp3s in a playlist instead. This way you should very much more enjoy the rest of the game.


Abbreviations

FUEL uses a few terms, and the FAQ needs to refer to them at times. To make the Q&A easier to read, here are all the commonly used abbreviations explained:
  • FUEL — In the context of this FAQ it relates to the PC version of the game.
  • 'FUEL' — Denotes the 'currency' in the game.
  • Maverick — Vehicles you can track down in Free Ride mode. Bump into them to add them to the vehicles available in your Garage.
  • AI — The "Artificial Intelligence", your single player driving opponents, controlled by the computer.
  • HUD — The "Heads Up Display" presents all the info on-screen.
  • Q&A — Question & Answer (the meat of any FAQ)


Feedback

  • Feedback welcome!
  • If you have additional info on a certain Q&A, please post it on the talk page.
  • Any other improvement suggestions welcome.


Credits

The FAQ is based on my (Æon) playing FUEL.
Special thanks go to Game widow on the The Witcher Wiki for support, feedback, and getting the FUEL wiki shipshape.


History

  • v1.82 — 1st public version, 41 Q&As total, most of the FAQ is already in place. (9/11/2010)
  • v1.00 — Put together the basic Q&As and tips, linking them to the wiki, FAQ uses British English. (9/9/2010)
  • v0.10 — Using my Overlord wiki FAQ layout, and content structure, for this FAQ. (9/9/2010)


Æon

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